Characterization of the 22kDa alpha zein gene family and determination of the impact of opaque2 on two transgenes containing zein promoters
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Zeins are the most abundant seed storage protein found in the maize kernel. There are multiple classes with some classes encoded by large gene families. The first part of this research attempted to identify new members of the 22kDa alpha zein gene family. Conserved sequences that were identified in many published zein-like sequences were used to create PCR primers that amplified zein-like sequences in three inbred lines, Ill12E, B101, and B73. The number of zein-like sequences expected was also estimated in the three inbred lines. The second part of this research examined how transgenes with two different zein promoters were impacted by the opaque2 mutation. Transgenes expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) using either a 19kDa zein promoter or 27kDa zein promoter were compared in opaque2 and wild type kernels. The opaque2 mutation had a variable impact on expression of both transgenes, and variable transgene transmission was observed as well.